Addis Ababa: Experts Meeting on eHealth and Telemedicine Harmonization in Africa

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The Experts Meeting on Health and Telemedicine Harmonization in Africa, opened today, Monday 28th February, 2011 at the Headquarter of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to present its outcome to the 5th session of the Conference of the African Union Health Ministers scheduled for April 2011, in Namibia.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the experts meeting, African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs, her Excellency Bience Gawanas said a number of strategies, plan of action and initiatives directly or indirectly related with ICT for health have been developed and supported by the AU and its NEPAD coordinating and planning Agency in collaboration with AU Partners.

The commissioner stressed that the AU will not succeed without the concerted effort of all member states, RECs, the Development Partners, and especially the private sector that play an important role at national level.

The commissioner added that the AU will continue to provide leadership in playing its role of Advocacy ,Harmonization and coordination as well as resource mobilization to ensure that ICT for health is placed high on Africa’s agenda and also to ensure that the necessary policies are in place for the progress and sustainability of relevant initiatives.

According to Prof. Derege Kebede, World Health Organization (WHO), Regional Office for Africa said on behalf of the regional director Dr. Luis Gomes Sambo in his opening remarks, eHealth can contribute to health system strengthening in several ways by improving the availability, quality and use of information and evidence through strengthened health information system and public health surveillance system; developing the health workforce and improving performance by eliminating distance and time barriers (reducing cost) through continuing medical or public health education.

He added “Unfortunately, the availability of these technologies in the region is far from adequate, and eHealth project continue to exist on a small scale and are fragmented.”

Prof. Kbede noted that WHO has for many years now given an important priority to eHealth and has worked with AUC and many partners to leverage eHealth in strengthening national health system.

The Network of Experts main responsibility under the supervision of the DSA/AUC will be to assist in, contribute to , and support eHelath policy development; provide policy advice; and offer technical expertise for ensuring sustainable projects development and implementations.

Jointly organized by the Department of Social Affairs and partners.

Proposed Objectives of the Network of Experts are:

To support the AUC in the development of eHEalth Policy for Africa.

To be in standing position to provide expert advice to the AUC on matters pertaining to eHealth in Africa.

To develop a framework for and facilitate the process of harmonizing eHealth initiatives and policies in Africa.

To support AUC’s efforts in endorsing and supporting eHealth projects by local and international partners in Africa.

To assist the AUC members states and RECs, upon request in developing, harmonising and implementing eHealth projects

The Experts Meeting on eHealth and Telemedicine Harmonization in Africa ends Tomorrow 1st March,2011.

Source: African Union Commission (AUC)

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